iPads and Tablet PCs are the biggest thing to have take over the tech world, so much so that Apple seems to be constantly competing with themselves. Two years after the launch of the iPad, Apple is all set to release its third version of the portable touch-friendly device later this week.
And that’s just Apple. The market is flooded with a whole range of tablet PCs from Samsung, HP, Sony and Dell right to Toshiba, ASUS, Motorola and Blackberry. For the consumer world it’s an elephant-sized step in a new direction. For webmasters, there are a lot more technical intricacies to pay attention to.
Website Viewing on Tablet PCs
The biggest challenge from a programming perspective is the fact that there is no natural preference in using a tablet PC in a portrait or landscape viewing mode. For those of you who are yet to use a tablet PC I have to mention, the device has orientation awareness so th
at when the user turns it, the screen and contents automatically adjusts to the rotation.
This presents a unique challenge for the developer. Firstly, this means that web site simplicity jumps back to the top of the priority list. People aren’t going to just sit there and wait for your site to load every time they turn on their Tablet.
More importantly, is the necessity to create more than one site design. Some site layouts do not translate into a portrait view – especially if they have a whole lot of information packed into the side bars. If nothing else, it means that the developer will have to take both orientations into account for all of their programming purposes.
Flash and Java
The worst is yet to come. The iPad runs on the Safari browser which does
not support plug-ins on Tablet PCs. Adobe has confirmed that Flash will not be supported in Chrome, which is going to be implemented as the default browser for Android phones. And it’s safe to assume this will be the case with all others. So if your website is built on Flash or Java, or anything that requires a plug-in, you will need to find another way to present it.
HTML5 is likely to take over a lot of these features. It is advisable to learn this in any case, so you may as well add it in to your web page code. It would be the best way to prepare for the oncoming restrictions.
Another feature to add on to the list would be the use of bigger, easy-to-click buttons. Tablet browsing requires that buttons be spaced apart so it’s easier for users to click on the links they want. Your design would have to accommodate this requirement as well.
The Apple website has extensive technical information to add to this guide; if you look up “iOS Human Interface Guidelines,” it will open up to previews of websites’ appearance on the iPad screen.
It may seem like a lot to take in, but if previous models of Apple are any indication, the iPad will continue on its way to tremendous success. So if you want to have your website ready it would be best to get started sooner.